We spent a weekend in room 941 of Kensington’s 5-star Royal Garden Hotel, and had a great time, but with one or two little downsides that need mentioning. This review is going to be one of those where you might wonder what’s good about the place, but so much is. We’d definitely go back, if only for the service, the food and the view.
The View. It was London, so it was a bit Grey…
From the moment we arrived, the staff were great. Check-in was swift, friendly and very efficient, and a room was available despite the fact we arrived at around 0900 to join a family member who had stayed the night before. Special mention must be made of Natalie, who was calm, courteous and utterly professional throughout, and helped us get a room near our family. Everyone was a delight, though, and we were made to feel like old friends.
Room 941 is a “Garden Room” which is absolutely worth the extra over the others. Around a third of the rooms face Kensington Gardens, and therefore Hyde Park too, and the distant London skyline. Higher is always better as far as I’m concerned, and having been moved from a lower floor an hour into the stay due to some apparently iffy electrics, I can confirm that its true here – get as high up as you can! The view is outstanding!
The room itself is nicely appointed, if you like wood. It’s everywhere, from the slabs on the walls, to a seemingly pointless fake vent looking slatted wooden thing which I suspect serves to break up the acres of, well, wood. There’s a wooden desk / table / vanity unit from the “90 degree corners and God help you if you try a curve” school of interior design. It all looks a bit 1970s to me (ironically the current décor dates from the 90’s – before that it was “not subtle” according to one of our greeters). By the big windows, there’s a nice sofa and table. The room itself was spotless, although we did find the undergarments of a previous visitor during our sweep of the room prior to departure!
A big, big bed dominates the rest of the space. It was huge, and firm but comfortable, as we slept very well, partly due to blackout curtains preventing the bright dawn sunlight from disturbing our slumber. You can order a room service breakfast which, I’m told by a colleague who has also stayed here, is very good. I’m still not quite sure why we didn’t, but there are several good places to eat within a five minute walk.
There’s a decently sized rainfall type shower, separate full bath (with a small handheld shower head too) loo and basin in the bathroom. It’s all very lovely, and reasonably spacious, and the shower was great!
Food-wise, the place to be is Min Jiang, the Chinese place on the top floor. The food here is delicious, and of course there’s that view again. Book in advance, as it gets very busy, and is popular with the local Chinese community, which is all the recommendation you need. Back on the ground, the Park Terrace serves British and European fare, afternoon tea and pre-theatre menus (although it’s not really close to any theatres). Everything we tried was very tasty, although at times the service felt hurried – my plates were whisked away and the dessert arrived before my guests had finished their mains, which is inexcusable. I’ve eaten here several times before and never had a problem, so we’ll chalk that one down as a “blip”.
There’s a fitness centre and spa should all that pampering and relaxation get too much, and a business centre for those urgent emails and printing jobs that can’t possibly wait.
This is a hotel frequented by everyone from rock stars to soccer players – the Liverpool team was there at the same time as us. There’s a reason for that.. it’s wonderful, and on the lower end of the price scale for a five star London hotel.
My tip – pay the money, get a Garden View room, and eat at Min Jiang.
Please note that the hotel didn’t know we were reviewing the room, and we received no incentives to write anything nice.